2005_08_boa.jpgIt had been far too long since the last weird animal that New Yorkers keep story, it was about time we heard that a boa constrictor was found in a Bronx closet. It seems that Michael Hardy's brother-in-law lost his boa constrictor and everyone thought it got away and forgot about it. How one forgets about a boa constrictor and manages to go to sleep at night without fear of being strangled, Gothamist doesn't know, but anyway, fast forward six months, Hardy has opened his closet and found the three-foot long snake "hanging its head from the top shelf." The police and housing bureau dispatched officers, who then took the snake to the Bronx Zoo, and, fun fact, the Bronx Zoo does not take donated animals. Those threats from Mom and Dad to get donate the pet you're taking care of no longer have any weight! One housing officer told the Times he thought that the boa, named Broke Out, probably survived on insects (cocroaches, perhaps), while Animal Care and Control thought the boa drank water from the toilet bowl while the family was sleeping or on errands. Shudder - you wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, and there's a boa...

Boas only seemed benign when we read Shel Silverstein's Boa Constrictor poem. And the champion of all city pets is indisputably Ming, the 400 pound tiger kept in an apartment, unless it's discovered someone has been keeping a panda somewhere in the five boroughs.

Photograph of Broke Out the boa and Melissa Mooney from Animal Care and Animal by Robert Caplin for the NY Times